Story and Photos by Ryan Demarco & Lucas Jones, & A. Mannarino
Another year, another beer. Beer festival that is! We returned to Long Beach Island’s very own Hop Sauce festival for its second year, anxious to try all the beer, hot sauce, and local food we could handle. we were not disappointed! Between the abundance of cold beer, delicious food, and great music, Hop Sauce 2015 was an amazing event that kicked off summer at the Jersey shore.
First lets start with the main event, the beer. We were able to experience a ton of different breweries from all over the east coast, with a splash of independent flavor from Ship Bottom Brewing, and 902 Brewing. While all the beer was superb, there were a few standouts.
Magic Hat brought their always great #9, but also indulged in a fruity side with their Electric Peel, which combined a light bodied and refreshing beer with the great taste of grapefruit, a flavor that has reached a high point in terms of popularity this year. Blue Moon’s White IPA was a great example of a summer beer; crisp and refreshing without sacrificing any flavor. Forgotten Boardwalk brought their Funnel Cake Cream Ale, which had amazing vanilla flavor and a smooth finish. But the real standouts were Ship Bottom and 902.
Ship Bottom was responsible for a collaboration with Chicken or the Egg, a local restaurant known for its chicken wings and 18 sauces. Ship Bottom made a Killer Beesting IPA, and it was…killer! Peppery spices and a firm malt base made for a beer which, honestly, we at News Over Brews were confused by. They also brought their Beach Patrol Hefeweizen and Barnacle Bottom Stout, the latter of which we went back for seconds. 902 brought the thunder with their black IPA, which we think was one of the best beers at the event. Coffee notes, smooth like a stout, but still bitter enough to put hair on your chest. Overall, this was a great place to be for beer lovers everywhere.
The music this year was even more stacked than last year, featuring acts such as, The Yetis, Savoir Adore, Leisure Cruise, Ski Lodge, Stone Cold Fox, and Jukebox the Ghost. The bands provided a great backdrop of music all day, giving the event a great lively atmosphere. After a great day of music, Jukebox the Ghost came on stage and absolutely killed it, ending the occasion with a spirited cover of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”.
Hot sauce and food junkies weren’t left out either. There were at least a dozen different hot sauce vendors at the festival, giving out samples of everything from your standard hot sauces, to jams and jellies, bacon infused creations, and even beef jerky made with beer. The local vendors really stepped up their game, providing festival goers with favorites like chicken wings, bratwurst, hot dogs, and many other items well known by LBI frequenters. add in space to get in a game of cornhole, and to shop for some new Jetty merch, and you have yourself a well rounded festival, open to and exciting for people of all ages and all walks of life. We can’t wait for next year.
For more Hop Sauce Fest coverage, check out the latest episode of the News Over Brews podcast.